Why You Really Shouldn't Take On More Than You Can Handle

All my life, I grew up with the phrase “well-rounded individual” drilled into my mind. You have to be well-rounded to grow as a person! You have to be well-rounded if you want to get into college! You have to be well-rounded to be well-rounded! It was not so much something that my parents or teachers tried to push on me as much as it was something I felt the need to force on myself for whatever reason. I really believed that all my problems would be solved by being busy all the time, regardless of whether or not I even enjoyed what I was doing, or if I had the time to afford doing it.

Looking back, I could never be the naive young girl I used to be. Striving so hard for empty satisfaction, though it did provide me with an excellent laundry list of useless achievements, did not prepare me for the real world nor teach me anything valuable about myself. And in all honesty, I sacrificed far too much of myself to be left with nothing of substance at the end. I reached breaking point after breaking point until breakdowns were neatly scheduled into my routine. I refused to let any aspect of my life except sleep budge. The worst part was how oblivious I was to my situation because, in my mind, it was normal to be stressed to the point of consistent frustration. After all, I was just doing what everyone around me supposedly does in the name of being well-rounded.

I don’t remember when it clicked for me, but I remember experiencing a self awareness that I’m still thankful for to this day. I saw a quote that read, “Remember when you wanted what you currently have? You’re in the middle of what you used to look forward to.” From then on I made it my personal goal to keep that self-awareness and try my best not to slip back into always wanting to tackle more. It’s okay to be satisfied with yourself without constantly chasing after the newest thing. It’s okay for a whole day or week or quarter to pass by where your stress does not hit an all-time high.

If you’re struggling to find your happy medium, because it can be a very fine line between manageable and completely overwhelming, take a step back and look with perspective. Try asking yourself a few of the following questions:

“Am I sleeping well lately?”

“Am I leaving enough time to take care of myself and my space?”

“Am I spending as much time as I’d like with my friends and family?”

“Do my responsibilities mirror my passions?”

“Are there any changes I could make that would make me happier?”

“When things get difficult, do I have an outlet for my stress?”

It’s often the little things we do that make a huge difference in our lives. And while it is important to prioritize, mental health and self care should be permanently tied for #1 on the list. So hang out with your friends, go for a run, paint something that makes you smile and remember that life is meant to be lived in the moment!